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Aurania Resources is on the hunt for gold at its Lost Cities-Cutucu project in Ecuador

Snapshot

Far from being a treasure hunter, the company is led by a team of respected geologists with a track record of world-class discoveries under their belts

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Quick facts: Aurania Resources Ltd

Price: 3.4 CAD

TSX-V:ARU
Market: TSX-V
Market Cap: $148.24 m
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  • Flagship asset, the Lost Cities-Cutucu project, lies in eastern foothills of the Andes mountain range in southeastern Ecuador
  • Proven management team that discovered of much of the gold and copper resources in the adjacent Cordillera del Condor
  • Outperform rating by Noble Capital Markets based on ability to capture exploration value

What Aurania Resources does:

Aurania Resources Inc (CVE:ARU) (OTCQB:AUIAF) is a Toronto-based junior explorer with its flagship asset, the Lost Cities-Cutucu project in the eastern foothills of the Andes mountain range in southeastern Ecuador.

The mineral exploration company is engaged in the identification, evaluation, acquisition and exploration of mineral property interests, with a focus on precious metals and copper. 

The company’s origin story reads akin to something of a swashbuckling novel. Aurania’s entry into Ecuador was driven by colonial Spanish documents describing the “lost cities” of Logroño de los Caballeros and Sevilla de Oro – gold mines that operated between about 1562 and 1600. Today, Aurania’s management team believe that these “lost cities” are located within the firm’s large concession area.

Far from being a treasure hunter, the company is led by a team of respected geologists with a track record of world-class discoveries under their belts. CEO Keith Barron cofounded gold explorer Aurelian Resources, which discovered the Fruta del Norte gold deposit in 2006 and is currently being developed by Lundin Gold.

The Lost Cities-Cutucu project lies along-trend of a mineral belt that hosts a well-endowed mineral belt that contains 26 million ounces of gold and almost 40 billion pounds of copper in the Cordillera del Condor region of the country. Aurania’s aeromagnetic data indicates a similar granitic batholith beneath the central part the project area which, if proven, may have provided a similar source of porphyry, epithermal and skarn mineralization.

How is it doing:

On December 10, 2020, Aurania announced that it is preparing for scout drilling designed to test the depth extent of a copper-silver bearing breccia at the Tsenken N1 target at its Lost Cities - Cutucu project, which it believes is part of a second iron oxide copper-gold (IOCG) system. 

It noted that scout drilling at Tsenken N2 and N3 identified an IOCG system that is strengthening to the north, away from the Tsenken Central magnetic feature, where the Tsenken N1 target lies.

Aurania started drilling on the highly prospective Tskenken N2 copper-silver target at Lost Cities-Cutucu in September 2020. Recent exploration at Lost Cities-Cutucu identified 64 individual targets, 31 of which were categorized as high priority for follow-up.

Additional LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data identified a potential new gold-bearing zone on the property. Data from the LiDAR survey pinpointed a system of vein-like features that are similar to areas of silver enrichment in soil samples taken from the Tiria South gold-silver target on the project, and if confirmed by follow-up fieldwork, the target would be a gold-bearing zone lying at depth.

The company has said it will prioritize Tiria South for follow-up exploration when its teams are able to return to the project site once coronavirus-related restrictions ease in Ecuador. Aurania plans to conduct more detailed mapping and sampling along with geophysics aimed at identifying silica related to epithermal veins.

It also revealed that LiDAR survey imagery has pinpointed what may be an ancient road from colonial Spanish times on its Lost Cities-Cutucu project in Ecuador. The group said the possible road must be verified and assessed in the field by an archaeologist once coronavirus-related restrictions are lifted in the project area.

Aurania has confirmed extensive high-grade copper and silver in the Tsenken B area of its Lost Cities-Cutucu project. The results extend from the mineralized fault breccia at the Tsenken A target around six kilometres to the north. 

The company also announced promising new data from the Kirus target at Lost Cities-Cutucu, which doubled the size of the area over which high-grade copper-silver was found. Samples taken from the Kirus target returned grades of up to 6.1% copper and 51 grams per ton silver.

Aurania Resources reported recently that a copper-gold system seen in the Tsenken N2 target on the Lost Cities-Cutucu project extends into the Tsenken N3 target, forming part of a single iron oxide copper-gold (IOCG) target that spans over 20 square kilometres.

According to Aurania, the IOCG system on its flagship project in Ecuador is the first copper mineralization identified in the drill core.

As well, the company said it is planning an airborne magnetotelluric (Mobile MT) geophysical survey at its Lost Cities - Cutucu project in Ecuador in early December 2020. 

It added that three drill holes had now been completed on the Tsenken N2 target as well as two at the Tsenken N3 target. 

In October 2020, Aurania closed a financing that raised C$11.5 million to advance exploration work in Ecuador. The company said it plans to use the proceeds for exploration at Lost Cities-Cutucu as well as early-stage exploration at its adjacent Peru properties. 

What the broker says:

In a note on December 11, 2020, analysts at Noble Capital Markets repeated an 'Outperform' rating on shares of Aurania with a C$3.75 price target, saying the stock represents a potentially high-risk, high-reward investment opportunity that hinges, in part, on management's ability to discover economically-recoverable mineral resources within the Lost Cities-Cutucu project area.

“Aurania's exploration program has affirmed the discovery potential for multiple deposits at the Lost Cities project and yielded drilling targets for a variety of metals. The company's drilling program is progressing well and could provide catalysts for the stock assuming favourable outcomes,” the analysts said.

They noted that Aurania management is awaiting assay results from Holes TS-004 and TS-005, which are thought to have been drilled closer to the core of the system and more likely to yield more significant results.

The analysts added that a heliborne geophysical survey will begin this week and continue through mid-January, which will help detect the sulphide core of the IOCG system and provide information about other targets as well, including Tiria-Shimpia. They said soil sampling at Tiria-Shimpia defined a large mineralized system that covers an area 75 square kilometers on the margin of a large magnetic feature that is interpreted to be a porphyry.

Inflection points:

  • Drill results from gold-silver epithermal targets
  • Develop joint ventures over parts of the 208,000-hectare property
  • Indentify specific targets at Kirus for scout drilling

What the boss says:

Keith Barron, Aurani's CEO, has declared that he is pleased to have drilling underway at its Tsenken N2 target.

"The man-portable rig was airlifted to the first drill platform by helicopter last week and drilling started on Sunday," Barron said in a recent statement.

"The light-weight rig has the capacity to drill to 800m (2,400 feet) so that each drill hole can test both cylindrical porphyry targets as well as enclosing sheet-like sedimentary-hosted copper-silver targets. The first drill holes are planned to a depth of approximately 400m (1,200 feet). After drilling three to five holes at Tsenken N2, the plan is to move the rig to test the Tsenken N3 target," he added.

Contact Sean at [email protected]

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